After intense scrutiny from other media outlets, readers, and victim advocates, Rolling Stone quietly accepted blame for inaccurate reporting in their recent account of a gang rape on the University of Virginia campus.
Rolling Stone's original, widely-read article about a young college student named Jackie who was reportedly raped by members of a fraternity house led to worldwide public attention, more accounts of assault on the university's campus and calls for action.
UVA President Teresa Sullivan placed a temporary suspension on all university Greek life in the wake of the story, stating, "The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community."
However, on Friday, the music publication issued a statement casting a new light on the detailed accounts of their story. According to Rolling Stone, in their reporting process, they neglected to contact the man who allegedly orchestrated the attack nor any of the man Jackie claimed participated in the assault. Jackie’s friends began to question Jackie's account of the rape. And the fraternity in question, Phi Kappa Psi released a statement claiming they never held a social event on the weekend cited in Rolling Stone story.
In the original apology, Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana wrote, "In the face of new information, there now appears to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced."
Many questioned Rolling Stone use of the line, suggesting that the tone of the apology incited victim blaming and would make it difficult for other rape victims to speak publicly about their assaults.
Yesterday, Rolling Stone made changes to their public apology, taking full responsibility for any errors in reporting and fact checking Jackie's story, writing "These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie. We apologize to anyone who was affected by the story and we will continue to investigate the events of that evening."
The new apology also references new reporting efforts from the Washington Post and other media sources which questions the details of Jackie's account.
Despite the issues in Rolling Stone's reporting, UVA remains committed to addressing issues of sexual assault and reporting of incidents on their campus.
In a statement to the Washington Post, McGregor McCance, a University spokesman, said, "Our foremost concern is the care and support of all students, and especially, any survivor of sexual assault. U-Va. will continue to focus on our practices, policies and procedures, and remains committed to taking action as necessary to bring about meaningful cultural change."
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, call the 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673), or visit Rainn.org.